In the last few decades, agriculture has transformed from small and medium operations to highly digitalized farming. The advent of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has been a key in automating the agriculture sector and maximizing production to sustain the needs of ever-growing population. Today, IoT is making a huge impact in the agriculture industry, enabling reduction in labor costs and automation of everyday farming processes.
The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is significantly changing the agriculture landscape, in terms of food production and supply. 4IR in agriculture is resulting in reduced environmental impact, lower costs, and increased yield. Also, it is empowering farmers to unlock a myriad of plant-based innovations and increase resilience of their farms to extreme climate change.
In recent times, global farmers have been moving towards the adoption of smart agriculture. With the use of advanced camera, sensors, and micro-controllers, smart agriculture supports farmers to control and monitor the entire processes via their smart devices. For instance, in February 2020, an Australian IoT network provider, NNNCo, partnered with Agriculture Victoria, a state government company, to offer network connectivity to a few trial sites in Australia. It will provide real-time data for farmers through thousands of sensors connected to the internet to improve efficiency, sustainability, and on-farm productivity.
Collaborative Efforts to Accelerate Move towards Smart Farming
Smart farming has been heralded as the future of agriculture. Key companies are outsourcing their innovation and development strategies to other incumbents and new entrants with expertise in the field of IoT-based smart farming.
- In December 2019, Senet, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based software and service platforms, announced its collaboration with Zenseio, an IoT System Integrator, to provide telemetry devices and ready-to-use sensors for the industrial and agriculture market. This partnership will also offer agriculture industry with a network-tested and pre-integrated solution designed to modernize monitoring of soil conditions, weather conditions, and water usage.
- Skylo Technologies Inc., an IoT-based solution provider, remains focused on providing the most affordable and reliable network to the agriculture industry in collaboration with other market players. It is also focusing on offering an easy way to connect IoT sensors in the industry. Skylo allows farmers to elevate operations by providing real-time information about plant growth conditions such as soil pH, moisture level, and air temperature.
Synergy of Precision Framing and Agriculture IoT – A Key to Modern Food Production
Precision farming is one of the most popular applications of IoT in agriculture. Through vehicle tracking, inventory and livestock monitoring, and field tracking, precision farming makes essential activities and processes more accurate and measurable. It also allows to analyze data obtained through sensors and operate accordingly. In order to provide a suitable growth environment for crops in cost-effective and energy-efficient manner, farmers can use precision farming techniques such as remote monitoring and factory automation management. In the current scenario, acquisition of potential stakeholders remains a focus area of companies active in precision farming techniques and tools. For instance, in January 2020, a global agriculture analytics and soil sensing company, CropX, acquired CropMetrics – a provider of precision-irrigation and cloud-based tools. With this partnership, the customers will have access to a combination of advanced farm management analytics, in-soil, and decision-support tools.
Business strategies of other players are closely aligned with the prevailing status-quo in the landscape. As strong networks with stakeholders across the value chain hold prominence, a number of companies are strengthening their collaborations. These factors played a pivotal role in Agworld’s decision to acquire all the assets and ongoing affairs of Greenbook, a US-based agriculture data solution provider company in January 2020. This acquisition will support a strong presence of Agworld in the U.S, as the latter is partnered with the most recognized chemical plant protection manufacturers in the agriculture industry.
IoT in Smart Greenhouse Revolutionizing Cultivation System
The ubiquity of technology is poised to support development of agriculture IoT market in near future. In addition, smart greenhouse innovation is essentially helping in increasing productivity and yield of a solar and floating controlled greenhouse. Growing requirements for smart cultivation inferable from enormously increasing population is a major factor for the development of smart greenhouse. Likewise, the increasing popularity of rooftop cultivation are expected to boost the adoption of smart greenhouse.
Penetration of Agricultural Drones to Shape Future of Agriculture IoT Market
Usage of agricultural drones is surging rapidly in areas of livestock monitoring and management, precision crop farming, aquaculture, and indoor farming. These drones help farmers monitor crop growth and increase production. In addition, hybrid agriculture drones are gaining prominence as they capture snapshots of various sectors of the field that provide important and crucial information about crop, yields, and soil to assist in crop management. Furthermore, a number of UAV-based startups are entering to carve a slice out of the agriculture IoT market. Universities, organizations, and technical institutes are conducting numerous programs to provide guidance for operating UAVs, while several startups are aiming to provide hardware and software services to the farmers. For instance, in February 2020, a Chinese tech company XAG gathered funds of 5 million yuan to combat contagious disease – Coronavirus- with innovative technology. These agricultural IoT-based drones will be used to spray coronavirus disinfectants in rural villages with weaker health systems and poorer sanitation conditions, in order to help curb the spread of the virus. This will be done with the permission of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and other government authorities.